Thanks for tuning into Sportstar 's live coverage of the 2022 French Open men's singles final between Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud. This was Nihit Sachdeva taking you through the action as it unfolded on the Philippe-Chatrier Court at Roland Garros in Paris.
With the Australian Open and French Open titles in the bag, will Rafael Nadal, at the age of 36 years, go for his first-ever Calendar Slam? Only time will tell.
From one Spanish King to the other
Nadal says, "Casper, it's a real pleasure to play with you a final here at Roland Garros. I want to congratulate you for an amazing career you are having & especially these 2 weeks are a very important step forward, so I am very, very happy for you ... You are doing great, you are great!"
And now, the 2022 French Open men's singles champion, Rafael Nadal who lifts the coveted Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy for the 14th time on the Philippe-Chatrier Court. The presentation is followed by the Spanish national anthem.
Firstly, Casper Ruud. He receives the runner-up plate. Ruud congratulates Nadal's family and team on the win.
"The first thing, & the most important thing, is to congratulate Rafa. ... We all know what a champion you are, and today I got to feel how it is to play against you in a final.It's not easy, and I'm not the first victim, I know there have been many before, " says Ruud.
Two hours and 18 minutes is all that Nadal has taken to thrash Ruud in straight sets to win a record-extending 14th French Open and 22nd overall Grand Slam title. The 36-year-old Nadal is the oldest men's singles champion at Roland Garros. This is his 7th straight sets win in a French Open final. Presentation ceremony shortly.
THIRD SET (* denotes server)
Nadal 6-0 Ruud* - Ruud hits the forehand long after Nadal retuns his wide serve. A backhand down the line winner takes Nadal within two points of the title. A cross court backhand winner this time earns Rafa two championship points. A rare miss from Nadal as he hits the backhand return long. NADAL HITS A PERFECT DOWN THE LINE BACKHAND WINNER TO WIN A RECORD-EXTENDING 14TH FRENCH OPEN TITLE.
Nadal* 5-0 Ruud - Nadal holds serve easily in four minutes to go 5-0 up. Ruud to serve to stay in the set and the match.
Nadal 4-0 Ruud* - Service game for Ruud. Can he find some sort of motivation to come back from here? At the moment, it does not seem so as he goes down 0-30. A gorgeous cross court backhand winner earns Nadal three break points. Ruud constructs the point but fails to give the perfect finishing touch as he hits the cross court volley into the net. Nadal up by a double break.
Nadal* 3-0 Ruud - Nadal serves. No pressure as he quickly puts an unforced error on the forehand behind him to take the next point with a combination of a drop and a passing forehand shot. He's down but not out - gritty tennis from Ruud to run from one corner to another and win the point with a forehand pass against Nadal of all people. Two 'routine' inside out forehand winners take Nadal from 15-30 down to 40-30 up. Ruud tries to deceive Nadal with the drop shot but does not execute it the way it should have been. Nadal consolidates the break.
Nadal 2-0 Ruud* - There seems to be no end to Ruud's struggle in this final. Another service game where he is 30-40 down. A cross court backhand winner from Nadal to break the Norwegian's serve yet again.
Nadal* 1-0 Ruud - Nadal to serve first in the third set. The Spaniard keeps peppering the Norwegian's backhand till he gets the perfect return to finish the point with the easiest of the backhand cross court vollleys. An unforced backhand error from Ruud followed by a forced one courtesy of a perfect wide serve from Nadal give the world number five three game points. Nadal holds as Ruud hits the forehand wide.
SECOND SET (* denotes server)
Nadal 6-3 Ruud* - Ruud serving to stay in the set (and potentially the match as well). Nadal does all the hard work but in the end, sends the cross court forehand just wide. No error this time as he puts away an easy backhand volley at the net. Danger for Ruud as he fails to break Nadal's defence and overhits a backhand to go 15-30 down. Nadal tightens his grip on the match as he finds one more cross court forehand winner to earn two set points. Ruud saves first as the Spaniard's backhand return goes long. The world number eight from Norway saved another set point with a strong first serve. However, he gifts away another with a wayward cross court forehand. Ruud saves third set point as he keeps attacking the Nadal backhand and ultimately, the Spaniard hits it into the net. Extraordinary defense from Nadal to stay in the point as Ruud decides to go for the cross court forehand only to see the 13-time champion hit a forehand down the line winner. Double fault from Ruud and Nadal wraps up the second set 6-3.
Nadal* 5-3 Ruud - Ruud falters on the backhand return as Nadal takes a 30-0 lead. An ace down the T from Nadal to consolidate the break.
Nadal 4-3 Ruud* - An important service game for Ruud. Starts off in style with a stunning backhand winner to close a 15-shot rally but then loses his way in the next couple of points - 30-all. An unfortunate deflection off the net chord at 40-30 takes Ruud's backhand down the line long. Adding insult to injury, Nadal hits a glorious cross court forehand winner to earn a break point. Nadal breaks. Ruud goes for the drop shot but Nadal gets there in time to hit the cross court return. Ruud tries to lob him but the ball lands just past the baseline, confirmed by the chair umpire.
Nadal* 3-3 Ruud - Nadal's ability to find the passing shot with his opponent at the net comes to his rescue once again. A deadly drop shot from the Spaniard takes him 30-0 up. A terrific exchange of Nadal's cross court forehand ad Ruud's cross court bachhand. Nadal keeps closing the angle and Ruud eventually goes for the drop shot. The ball goes over the net somehow and Ruud anticipating a cross court return takes position but the Spaniard wrong foots him and sends the backhand slice down the line. Nadal closes out the game at love.
Nadal 2-3 Ruud* - Ruud serves to consolidate the break. Excellent forehand down the line return from Ruud to stay in the rally before finishing it with a cross court forehand at the net to make it 15-all. At 30-all, Ruud puts too much into the cross court forehand and pays the price for it as the ball sails past the baseline. Nadal expertly converts the break point as Ruud's defensive forehand goes wide. Back on serve.
Nadal* 1-3 Ruud - An unforced error on the forehand from Nadal to begin his service game. An excellent 18-shot rally which shows the Norwegian has taken his time but now settled into the match. A brilliant slice down the line from Ruud and Nadal's forehand hits the net. Three break points. Third double fault from Nadal and Ruud breaks. Game on!
Nadal 1-2 Ruud* - Ruud serves. A pretty strong one from Ruud as he takes a 2-1 lead with a better first serve. Nadal did hit one vintage forehand winner but that's about it.
Nadal* 1-1 Ruud - Nadal with a couple of delightful backhand winners - 40-up. Ruud reduces the deficit by anticipating the Nadal drop shot well in time and rushing in before sending a cross court forehand that goes out of Nadal's reach near the net. However, that is the only point that Ruud wins in the game as Nadal holds to make it 1-1.
Nadal 0-1 Ruud* - Ruud serves first in the second set. This is a proper battle of two baseliners and at this point, it is Nadal with the upper hand as he goes 40-15. Ruud saves the first break point as Nadal makes a mess of an easy cross court volley after guessing the drop shot from the Norwegian correctly. The Spaniard wastes another opportunity as he overpowers the inside out forehand and misses the line - deuce. Third break point chance for Nadal courtesy of a cross court backhand from Ruud that goes wide. If he can do it twice, why not the third time. Ruud saves another break point with a powerful forehand winner. Ruud manages to hold serve as Nadal does not get the return in time on the Norwegian's cross court forehand. How crucial would this hold of serve be for the world number eight?
FIRST SET (* denotes server)
Nadal* 6-3 Ruud - Nadal serving for the set. Ruud had a chance after leading 30-15 but Nadal closed any window of opportunity with three great first serves. Ruud's backhand return on the third hits goes to hit the chair umpire. Nadal wins the first set 6-3 in 49 minutes.
Nadal 5-3 Ruud* - Ruud serving to stay in the set. Audacious volley from Ruud at 30-15 as he served it wide but Nadal had managed to send a viciously dipping return. Nadal goes for the forehand down the line winner but hits it wide. Ruud holds.
Nadal* 5-2 Ruud - Nadal serves and is 30-0 up without much fuss. Make that 40-0 as he goes forehand down the line, cross court forehand to force Ruud to the right and ends it with a forehand down the line on the left. Nadal fails to convert two game points courtesy of some powerful ground strokes from Ruud. However, he does close out the game with a backhand pass at 40-30 after Ruud anticipates his drop shot and goes for the cross court return at the net.
Nadal 4-2 Ruud* - Ruud serves. Nadal wins the opening point with a perfect cross court forehand that finds the corner. Ruud improves the serve to force a long return from the Rafa forehand. The drop shot works this time for Ruud as Nadal fails to anticipate it and rush in on time. For the first time in the final, Ruud holds.
Nadal* 4-1 Ruud - Much better service game from Nadal. The forehand looked good and caused problems for Ruud. The Norwegian tried to find some escape route with a drop shot but that didn't work as well 40-0. Nadal consolidates the break as Ruud errors on the backhand.
Nadal 3-1 Ruud* - Ruud serves. A 14-shot rally featuring Rafa's forehand down the line against the Norwegian's backhand. Ruud tries to go for the backhand pass as Nadal's comes towards the net but does not execute it well enough to go over the net. Good first serve from the world number eight sets up the point and he duly wins it with a forehand down the line. However, on the very next point, he overhits a cross court forehand to go down 15-30. A bit of flair from Ruud in the next two points as he draws an error on the forehand from his opponent before unleashing a winner of his own. Three unforced errors from the world number eight, perhaps a sign of nervousness, and Nadal breaks yet again.
Nadal* 2-1 Ruud - An unforced error on the forehand from Ruud. A heavy forehand followed by a double fault - Nadal trails 15-30 on his own serve. Another double fault from the Spaniard gives Ruud two break points. Ruud fails to convert the first one as he sends the forehand down the line long. Ruud does break on the second time of asking as Nadal sends a second serve to which the Norwegian replies with a slow cross court backhand. Nadal's forehand goes only as far as the net.
Nadal 2-0 Ruud* - Second serve from Ruud lets Nadal get into the rally and he wins the point with a tough volley at the net. Ruud finds the first serve down the T and the return from the Spaniard goes beyond the baseline. Nadal varies the pace in his backhand shots and it works as he sends one cross court with Ruud reaching a little too late to hit the ball with enough power. Two break points for Nadal. Ruud serves out wide and ends the point with a forehand down the line to save one. Nadal hits a beautiful cross court forehand pass on seeing Ruud closing in towards the net. Nadal breaks.
Nadal* 1-0 Ruud - Nadal to serve. A decent 12-shot rally to begin the final with Ruud failing to connect the forehand at the end. Ruud is almost doing a Rafa here in the sense that he is standing too far back from the baseline. Nadal sees that, forces him wide and ends the rally with a drop shot to go 30-0 up. Ruud's forehand down the line draws out the first error from the 13-time champion who sends the return long. Comfortable hold for Nadal in the opening game of the 30th Grand Slam final of his career.
6:42 PM: Warm-up is done. For one final time at this year's French Open, let the game begin!!!
6:36 PM: TOSS - Nadal wins the toss and elects to serve first.
Temperature in Paris: 21 degree Celsius
Humidity: 71 per cent
6:32 PM: Both players have stepped onto the red clay of the Philippe-Chatrier Court.
6:20 PM: Just 10 minutes to go for this exciting summit clash.
6:15 PM: Will Nadal add another chapter to this list?
6:10 PM: Time spent on court across six rounds
Nadal: 18 hours 8 minutes
Ruud: 18 hours 2 minutes
6:05 PM: There are more:
- If Nadal wins, he will sweep the Australian Open and Roland Garros in the same year for the first time and equal his lowest ranking as a Grand Slam champion. He was also No. 5 at 2005 Roland Garros and the 2022 Australian Open.
- If Ruud wins, he will be the youngest Grand Slam men’s champion since Juan Martin del Potro, 20, at the 2009 US Open.
5:55 PM: Records on offer:
5:45 PM: How Nadal and Ruud fared on clay this season coming into the French Open:
5:35 PM: While Ruud and Nadal have never faced each other, the two often practice together at Nadal's Academy in Mallorca. The last first-time meeting in a Grand Slam men’s final was Novak Djokovic vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2008 Australian Open while the last first-time meeting in a Roland Garros men’s final was Gustavo Kuerten vs Sergi Bruguera in 1997.
5:25 PM: How Nadal and Ruud have reached the final:
5:15 PM: It's the last day of the 2022 French Open with only one event left to be completed - the men's singles final. Rafael Nadal, thirteen-time Roland Garros champion and probably the greatest clay court player of all time, is up against Casper Ruud, the best on clay this season. Nadal is looking for a record-extending 14th title while Ruud has the chance to become the first Norwegian man to win a Grand Slam. Live action from 6:30 PM. Till then, let me take you through the various records on offer in this match; how the two players have reached the final and more. Stay tuned.
Rafael Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion, takes on Casper Ruud, a trainee at the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy, in the men’s final of Roland Garros 2022.
In his on-court interview after his semifinal win, Norwegian Ruud said, "He has played so many finals, but at least he is playing a student from his academy this time. So, it is going to be a fun one hopefully.”
Nadal has reached the final after battling it out for more than three hours, saving four set points before clinching the opener 7-6 (8) and coming back from a break down to force the tiebreaker in the second before his opponent, German world number three Alexander Zverev, was forced to retire due to a horrible ankle injury.
Ruud is the first Norwegian man ever and the first Scandinavian man since 2010 to reach a Grand Slam final after he came back from a set down to beat Croatian Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Sweden's Robin Soderling was the last Scandinavian male tennis player to reach the final of a Major when he lost to Nadal at the French Open in 2010. In 2009, Soderling had subjected Nadal to his first ever defeat at Roland Garros during their fourth round match.
While Ruud and Nadal have never faced each other, the two often practice together at Nadal's Academy in Mallorca. The last first-time meeting in a Grand Slam men’s final was Novak Djokovic vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2008 Australian Open while the last first-time meeting in a Roland Garros men’s final was Gustavo Kuerten vs. Sergi Bruguera in 1997.
Both Nadal and Ruud play with a heavy top spin and bank on their forehand to do the damage.
Ruud has been in impressive form on clay this season, winning titles in Buenos Aires and Geneva with an overall win-loss record of 15-5. On the other hand, Nadal missed most of the clay court season due to a rib injury sustained at Indian Wells Masters. Nadal played only two clay events - Madrid Masters (where he lost to his younger compatriot and teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz in quarterfinals) and Italian Open (where his left foot issue flared up midway through his third round loss to Canadian Denis Shapovalov). With a big serve and strong ground strokes, world No. 8 Ruud can threaten to stage a coup as Nadal continues to manage the pain in his foot.
The Spaniard, on being asked about his preference to either win the title or get a new foot chose the latter after his semi-final match. He said, "Without a doubt, I'd prefer to lose the final."
"My opinion does not change. A new foot would allow me to be happier in my daily life. Winning is very nice and gives you an adrenaline rush, but it's temporary and then you have to go on living. I have a life ahead of me and in the future I would love to play sports with my friends. My happiness goes ahead of any title.
(With inputs from Reuters)